How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian Appy, author of the oral history of the Vietnam War Patriots, now examines the relationship between the war’s realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy.

Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. The new book is American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity.

He will be speaking about and signing his new book at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on Tuesday, February 24th.

  The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together?

In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link - corruption - in her book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

    In January, 1649 -- after seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain's history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people. A tribunal of 135 men was hastily gathered in London, and although Charles refused to acknowledge the power of his subjects to try him, the death sentence was unanimously passed. On an icy winter's day on a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. When the dead king's son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, he set about enacting a deadly wave of retribution against all those - the lawyers, the judges, the officers on the scaffold - responsible for his father's death. Some of the 'regicides' - the killers of the king - pleaded for mercy, while others stoically awaited their sentence.

Bestselling historian Charles Spencer explores this violent clash of ideals through the individuals whose fates were determined by that one, momentous decision in his book Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I.


  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with Mass Humanities to find out about the Disability History Museum, an online resource and archive that focuses on the history of disability and disability policy in the United States.

We are joined by Laurie Block, founder of the DHM, and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities. With them, we will explore the value and creation of online digital humanities resources, as well as this amazing collection of materials on the history of disability.

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Two historic hotels in the region are moving a step closer to finding new life in their communities. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on the latest developments in Saratoga Springs and Cambridge.

  Sailing down the river that would later bear his captain’s name, explorer Robert Juet described the Hudson River Valley in 1609 as a “drowned land” submerged by a “great lake of water.” Over the next two centuries, this drowned landscape would be the site of a truly historic flowering of art, literature, architecture, innovation, and revolutionary fervor—drawing comparisons to another fertile cultural haven built around a might mighty river in Western Europe.

As historian Vernon Benjamin chronicles in The History Of The Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness To The Civil War, the Hudson River Valley has been a place of contradictions since its first settlement by Europeans. Discovered by an Englishman who claimed it for the Dutch, the region soon became home to the most vibrant trading outpost for the New World colonies—the Island of Manhattan—even as the rest of the valley retained the native beauty that would inspire artists from James Fenimore Cooper to Thomas Cole.

  In the bestselling tradition of The Where, the Why, and the How, The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History is an offbeat illustrated history reveals people you've probably never heard of, but who helped shape the word as we know it. Muses and neighbors, friends and relatives, accomplices and benefactors—such as Michael and Joy Brown, who gifted Harper Lee a year's worth of wages to help her write To Kill a Mockingbird. Or John Ordway, the colleague who walked with Lewis and Clark every step of the way.

Jenny Volvovski, one of the co-authors, joins us.

    A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre.Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story.

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered is a blend of biography, history, and memoir about the world’s most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting.

    In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red-velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. Thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. At times Mona Lisa slept at the bedside of curators who were painfully aware of their heavy responsibility.

  For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view?

In her book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.